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Chiseled Squares and Railroad Spike Benchmarks

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Another question for the Benchmark team....


Benchmark DN0120 and Benchmark DN0121


It seems that all the squares and spikes in my home county have been reported as (Not Found) in two surveys. One by the NGS and one by the USPSQD.


My question is, Why?


I've checked and the ones that I've looked for have been there and found rather easily.


Is it the fact that they're on private (railroad) property, and overlooking them is easier than gaining permission?




They no longer serve a useful purpose and are being intentionally ignored and reported as (Not Found)? If this is the case it seems as if the NGS would simply purge them from their system.




The 1st (Not Found) NGS survey was adequate for the USPSQD to not look for them and just list them the same.




Am I wasting my time searching, recovering, recording and reporting these things? Even though I am having fun....


Once again, Thanks! icon_smile.gif


~Honest Value Never Fails~

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Why they were marked not found is anyone's guess, but you are certainly not wasting your time by recovering them and reporting them found, especially with the photo documentation. Your efforts just may save someone alot of trouble locating the mark in the future.



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No matter what we ever do on this planet, our galaxy will continue rotating as it should.


From that perspective, there is no such thing as wasting time by just having fun. Instead, one of the most important things in life is to have fun.


From the more local perspective, if the NGS database weren't worth keeping, it would've been deleted entirely years ago. As it is, it has a staff and a dynamic website with various kinds of searches. People paying for maintaining websites know whether they are used or not, and retire features if they're not used. I believe that the NGS database is still used by surveyors.


If we can re-establish a PID's existence, the original investment of making the station is thereby regained and the cost of replacing it saved.

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Surveyors use the NGS database on a regular basis. It is very handy for obtaining control in whatever area I am surveying in. I cannot explain why these marks would be reported as not found. I recovered one in eastern Colorado that was a rivet set on the concrete headwall back in the '30's. I had to dig through a couple of feet of dirt to get to it. Generally speaking, the marks that I have seen reported as "Not Found" were in areas where the highway or railroad was widened, or the area developed.


Speaking of railroads, while many of these markers are along railroads, being on the right of way is considered tresspassing and anyone caught is subject to a $10,000 fine. Railroads used to not be so concerned with people being on their right of way (at least surveyors). After Sept. 11, however, they are really going after people, due to the heightened security of our nations transportation. Therefore, don't tell them about me finding that rivet (wink).

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Originally posted by boundsgoer:

Surveyors use the NGS database on a regular basis.


, being on the right of way is considered tresspassing and anyone caught is subject to a $10,000 fine.


As an aside to the original post, Can "trespass" if you are a professional Surveyor or in his emplouy? Not so in Ontario, Canada. Legislation allows for access to any property, even entrance to buildings.


Paddle Slowly : The ride is over soon enough.

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I agree with all of the responses above. This is a very good example of the importance of reporting a mark as not found instead of destroyed when you fail to find it. Remember, not found indicates only that it was not recovered at that particular time and does not mean that it is not still there, whereas destroyed means that it is positively no longer there. Its not surprising that the Power Squadron failed to find these, since they usually make only a token effort to search, and you may as well ignore what they report in most cases anyway. The NGS crew may have decided not to make a thorough search for any number of reasons. They may have just decided that they did not need to use these markers at that time. Remember, not found does not mean the same thing as destroyed, well done Dawgies.

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Anyone know what the right of way distance from the centerline of the railroad tracks is (typically)?


Dawgies find was obviously within the boundaries as it was just at the edge of the track bed, however, I've visited benchmarks which were within 20 feet of tracks and it was questionable whether they were on railroad property or private property (usually farmed land). Granted almost every one of these I reached by walking along the tracks but could marks like these be visited (landowner permission) without getting busted for being too close to the tracks?



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RR R/W width varies radically with 50 feet from centerline of track probably about average. Here in the east, especially in urban areas, it is mostly fenced and thus obvious. A visit to the office of the county tax assessor to look through the county tax map records, which is publicly available info, will shed some light on this and many other property ownership issues. More detailed info can be found in deed records, typically housed in the office of the county clerk, also available for public inspection, although this can be very time consuming and somewhat confusing for those not familiar with legalese.

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Assessor's maps can be incorrect, proceed with caution. Additionally, fences may not be on the right of way. In areas where the right of way is 200 feet wide or more, the railroads would build the fences close to the tracks in order that the engineers could observe them and report any damage.

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Benchmark DN0122


I went today and found one of these today. It was a soggy, rainy day and the picture isn't great with the mud and all, but you can make out the square and a dot in it.


This was placed on a concrete culvert and only a couple of feet away from a Spike.


I find it amazing the amount of time and detail that seems to go with each of these BM stations.


I guess their creators and maintainers were the geeks of yesteryears past. icon_smile.gif


~Honest Value Never Fails~

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